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Electronic parking meter with vehicle sensor

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Electronic parking meter with vehicle sensor


An electronic single space parking meter associated with a parking space is provided. The meter includes a support pole and an electronic meter mechanism coupled to and supported from the support pole. The electronic meter mechanism includes a processor. The meter includes a vehicle sensor communicably coupled to the processor of the electronic meter mechanism. The vehicle sensor is configured to detect a vehicle located within the parking space. The vehicle sensor is coupled to and supported by the support pole at a position above the ground and below the electronic meter mechanism.

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Inventors: Gavin Jones, Balu Subramanya, Mike Nickolaus
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120286968 - Class: 34087002 (USPTO) - 11/15/12 - Class 340 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120286968, Electronic parking meter with vehicle sensor.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/484,568 titled “PARKING METER SYSTEMS AND METHODS,” filed May 10, 2011, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of parking meter systems, devices and methods. The present invention relates specifically to a parking meter system equipped for wireless communication between the various components of the parking system.

Single space parking meters are typically associated with a single parking space. To utilize an individually metered parking space, a motorist typically inserts money into the parking meter, and the parking meter displays an amount of time related to the amount of money inserted. A multi-space meter typically provides a single payment location for more than one parking spot, and the multi-space meter receives payment and tracks meter time for the multiple parking spots. For either type of meter, the motorist may park at the metered spot for the amount of parking time purchased. When the time on the meter expires, the motorist may move their car or add more time to the meter. If the meter expires and the motorist remains parked at the meter, a parking enforcement officer may issue a parking ticket. A city or other entity may operate a city wide system of single space parking meters and/or multi-space meters.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Generally, one embodiment of the invention relates to a parking meter including one or more vehicle sensors associated with each single space meter in the parking system. The vehicle sensor is located above the ground and set back from the curb, and may be mounted to the supported pole for the meter.

Another embodiment of the invention relates to a single space parking meter associated with a parking space. The single space parking meter includes a support pole including a lower end and an upper end, and the lower end is configured to be coupled to the ground adjacent the parking space such that there is a distance between the support pole and the parking space. The meter includes an electronic meter mechanism coupled to and supported from the upper end of the support pole, and the electronic meter mechanism includes a processor. The meter includes a vehicle sensor communicably coupled to the processor of the electronic meter mechanism, and the vehicle sensor is configured to detect a vehicle located within the parking space across the distance, to generate a signal indicative of the presence of the vehicle within the parking space and to communicate the signal to the processor. The vehicle sensor is coupled to and supported by the support pole at a position above the ground and below the electronic meter mechanism, and the vehicle sensor includes a detection zone and the vehicle sensor is positioned such that the detection zone is located within the parking space.

Another embodiment of the invention relates to a parking meter including a support pole including a lower end and an upper end, and the lower end is configured to be coupled to the ground. The parking meter includes an electronic meter mechanism coupled to and supported from the upper end of the support pole, and the electronic meter mechanism includes a processor. The electronic meter mechanism is associated with a parking spot. The parking meter includes a vehicle sensor communicably coupled to the processor, and the vehicle sensor is located above the ground and set back from the parking spot such that there is a space between the vehicle sensor and the parking spot. The vehicle sensor is configured to detect a vehicle located within the parking spot across the space and to generate a signal indicative of the presence of the vehicle within the parking spot and to communicate the signal to the processor.

Another embodiment of the invention relates to an electronic single space parking meter system configured to be mounted to a support pole and associated with a parking space. The electronic single space parking meter system includes a vehicle sensor and an electronic meter mechanism configured to be received within an outer meter housing coupled the upper end of the support pole. The electronic meter mechanism includes an inner housing including a front side and a rear side and wireless communications hardware supported by the inner housing configured to wirelessly communicate data between the electronic meter mechanism and a parking management system. The electronic meter mechanism includes a credit card mag-strip reader supported by the inner housing, a currency reader including a slot for receiving currency, an electronic display screen supported by the inner housing and a meter control system. The vehicle sensor includes a sensor housing and a sensing element configured to detect a vehicle within the parking space and to generate a signal indicative of the presence of the vehicle within the parking space. The sensing element is supported within the sensor housing. The electronic single space parking meter system includes a wired communication link configured to communicably couple the sensing element to the meter control system to communicate the signal indicative of vehicle presence from the sensing element to the meter control system.

Alternative exemplary embodiments relate to other features and combinations of features as may be generally recited in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

This application will become more fully understood from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying figures, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements in which:

FIG. 1 shows a parking system according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 2 shows a pole-mount vehicle sensor according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 3 shows a surface-mount vehicle sensor according to exemplary embodiments.

FIG. 4 shows a subterranean sensor according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 5 shows a parking system according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 6 shows a parking system according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a parking system according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 8A is a front view of a single-space parking meter according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 8B is an exploded view of a single-space parking meter according to an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 9 is a front view of an electronic meter mechanism according to an exemplary embodiment.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120286968 A1
Publish Date
11/15/2012
Document #
13468873
File Date
05/10/2012
USPTO Class
34087002
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
08C15/06
Drawings
28



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